Portrait of Sylvia von Harden by Otto Dix


http://www.ottodix.org/index/paintings#135.001

The portrait is extremely interesting . While it looks almost like a caricature of the New Woman that had just been emerging between the World Wars it also bore an uncanny resemblance to the reality of Harden, a poet and journalist of some fame of those days. But more important is the almost androgenised looks of the woman, a sort of de-sexualized woman- of- the- mind , a stereo-type of those days. I am not sure if she looked all that plain in real life but she definitely looked the modern woman, a liberated woman ,smoking in public and dressed in a patterned frock in keeping with the cylindrical shape of her figure,with a flatness of cultivated form-

There are no feminine curves about her body, just a disproportionate hand where breast would rise. The square patterns accentuate the lack of roundness in a form devoid largely of femininity and contrast with the pink wall behind with a roundness built into its plane.

Watch her monocled eye of sternness, a frosty ,forbidding manner , the largeness of her hands, while they still retained their artistic pointedness.

Love the portrait.

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